how to stay calm and carry on

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guitarplayer
Posts: 169
Joined: Thu Feb 27, 2020 6:43 pm

how to stay calm and carry on

Post by guitarplayer »

Over the last year the absence rate at where I work went way up (this is a hands on job, working from home is not an option).
- people are anxious of covid - off due to anxiety
- some people shield for months at a time
- people need to isolate when they have a temperature etc
- morale is lower (perhaps because these guys are meant to come to work while furlough scheme gave lots of others money in their pocket for nothing).

Some of this is justified. But sometimes I ask myself 'really? you will be off because you have a heartburn?' And I get this sense of injustice about those who carry on working and those who just freeload taking advantage of the system.

So I am looking for ways of staying calm and carrying on.

Advises welcome!
Last edited by guitarplayer on Tue Feb 23, 2021 6:07 am, edited 2 times in total.

ertyu
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Re: how to stay calm and carry on

Post by ertyu »

You're not freeloading when you are taking care of your health. Ditch the idea that people are freeloading when they insist on basic human treatment for themselves and their families. Stop judging others whose situation you don't know. You are not privy to their medical history and the risks they may or may not be facing. They are not obliged to justify themselves to you when taking time off for health reasons. This includes psychological health - you're doing that thing where as a healthy person, you're looking at someone with a condition and saying "lmao how lazy what a freeloading loser" when you do not know what it's like in their heads and their bodies and do not know what it is like for them to perform or not perform any given level of tasks.

You also don't know the situation of their immediate family members or those in their covid pod. Let's say you are healthy, but your parent or sibling is extremely high risk -- how would the ethical question stand for you then? Would it be ok for you to risk your mother's life and make her choke on her own snot so you can get 8 dollars per hour according to a standard of "work ethic" which, when you look deeply into it, applies for all animals except for those that are more equal than others and can work from home?

The solution to your problem is to stop messing into other people's business. It is not on you to decide what the right thing for them is to do, end of story. You do not have all the information even when you think you do. Even if you did have all the information, it is still not your business to control others so they act according to your personal ideas of wrong or right. Serenity prayer: tell the difference between what is your business and you can control, and what is not. Others will behave how they will behave - the only thing you are responsible for here is to decide how you would like to behave given how others behave. In some circumstances, it might be on you to make your issue known. For instance, "can you please eat with your mouth closed, the sounds you make aren't nice" or some such. Could you put your socks in the hamper. Etcetera. However, it is on HR, your government, and your employer to decide who does or does not have a legitimate reason to be at work or to be on furlough. If work is hard as a result of someone being furloughed, place the blame where it rightfully stands: on your employer who wouldn't hire enough to ensure that each employee has a reasonable workload. On your employer who wouldn't pay enough for enough people to be willing to work at this time. If you find yourself thinking, "yes but my employer can't reasonably be expected to do that because reasons, profits" -- why is this a legitimate argument to you but "I will not risk my life and my parents' lives for 7 dollars per hour" isn't?

Tl;dr: quit being judgmental, get some compassion, assess critically where blame actually lies. If you try to control something that isn't your business to control, the only person you will make miserable is yourself.

guitarplayer
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Re: how to stay calm and carry on

Post by guitarplayer »

Thanks for answering, I was thinking you would reply here.

I get all the arguments and pretty much sign under all this. Also
ertyu wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 5:09 am
The solution to your problem is to stop messing into other people's business.
is not really justified to say as I do not mess into other people's business, apologies if I came across like this in OP. Generally I do everything according to the script.
ertyu wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 5:09 am
Tl;dr: quit being judgmental, get some compassion, assess critically where blame actually lies.
So here you address more what I want to work on, i.e. my emotional state around this issue. Usually reading a relevant book helps me in such situations so if anyone has a good book to recommend this would be appreciated.

In the first version of the OP I used an example of heartburn being the reason for being off for 4 days, perhaps I will change it to that now so that it does not detract attention from what I want to focus on here.

guitarplayer
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Re: how to stay calm and carry on

Post by guitarplayer »

I appreciate the rich societal safety net that works pretty well making sure that people are in reasonable health.

Perhaps putting it in another words: does anyone have good solutions to avoid the tragedy of the commons / do people think the tragedy of the commons can be avoided?

ertyu
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Re: how to stay calm and carry on

Post by ertyu »

Glad some of what I wrote was useful. When it comes to emotional state, when it comes to being judgmental, three things have really helped me personally:

- calmly and with acceptance, investigate my own emotions. I sometimes find myself being judgmental to cover up interpersonal hurt (idk how relevant this will be in your case, i guess this is for you to discover). Example: "What an £%£$%^£%$%^& person who does X!" What's really going on for me: "This person hurt me by doing X." Or: "By doing X, it means they believe Y, which means they see me as inferior/less than." Sometimes, just getting honest with what is truly going on for me helps a lot.

- Keep asking "why." (This is a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Technique). Take a piece of paper and keep questioning your assumption until you hit paydirt. You will generally know when you've arrived at the core of what the issue is about for you. "But they shouldn't do X!" -- well, why shouldn't they? -- because it's not fair! -- why should it be fair? --> getting closer to the core of the issue here, investigating the concept of fairness and what is at stake with it. Usually, when I personally invoke "fair," this is about powerlessness for me - I feel powerless to assert myself and argue for myself in a certain situation, and because I feel like I cannot advocate for myself I feel like I am in danger as no one will stand up for me. It might be something completely different at stake for you, such as, "well, if i were ok with this situation it would mean that i have to admit that what was done to me in XYZ other situation was alright". I have no idea what would be at stake for you.

- Apply the Jungian concept of the shadow. Which part of what you're judging others for is actually a trait you have, but are in denial about and would like to distance yourself from? Usually, whenever I find myself judgmental of others, there is always an element of projecting my own shadow. Which part of your shadow, and what would it mean for you to accept that you are indeed a person who possesses a tendency to X undesirable trait, is also personal. Why would it be so bad to admit to X thing? The most recent example of this I observed was in a friend of mine (always easier to see this in others :lol: ). He was on a rant about how irresponsible his brother is and how he has too much fun and isn't responsible enough with his children. My friend was probably right - his brother's children would probably indeed turn out better if his brother was a more responsible parent. But how strongly judgmental my friend was hinted at how my friend resents taking care of his own children and would like to drink more and parent less. But to admit this would mean admitting he envies his brother for living a "fun" life and facing how he is a person who envies others. To admit the truth about wanting to party more and parent less might also make him feel guilty for being at the core of his being a bad person - because "good fathers" do not feel like this about their own children. Lastly, admitting to wanting to party more and parent less might lead him to actually acting on it and as a result destabilizing his own marriage and hurting his own children. Etcetera.

Now, I don't know what part of your shadow is being projected and why, and why it's so scary to admit to it, but If you are brutally honest with yourself, some sort of shadow projection is always going on. I have never ever failed to find it in myself when I've actually held my own ass to the fire.


So those are the tips I have. In addition to investigating the places where you err, it would help to formulate what you would rather believe instead. In my friend's case, it might have been something like, "yes this is difficult and i really miss my party days, but still, taking care of my marriage and my children is a choice i am actively choosing to make because it aligns with my values. in addition, to reconnect with the side of me who wants more party and play, me and the wife can discuss about getting a sitter or leaving the kids with the grandparents and planning a weekend to reconnect and let loose"

Hope it helps, happy digging into your own emotional manure! Whenever I dig into mine, the process inevitably sucks but also ineviably ends up worth it.
Last edited by ertyu on Tue Feb 23, 2021 8:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

ertyu
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Re: how to stay calm and carry on

Post by ertyu »

guitarplayer wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 6:05 am
I appreciate the rich societal safety net that works pretty well making sure that people are in reasonable health.

Perhaps putting it in another words: does anyone have good solutions to avoid the tragedy of the commons / do people think the tragedy of the commons can be avoided?
No, it cannot. Usually with the social safety net, the solution is to think big rather than small: even if some people abuse it, the cost to society as a whole would still be less than if we didn't have the social safety net. Oftentimes, too, the cost of investigating every instance of abusing the social safety net (enforcement cost) is actually greater than the cost of allowing for some people to slip through the cracks. <-- this often applies to taxes in particular; investigating everyone is more expensive in terms of labor/resources than the taxes it would recoup and isn't worth it.

guitarplayer
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Re: how to stay calm and carry on

Post by guitarplayer »

cool thanks for this.

I know CBT fairly well but find it focusing an awful lot on quantitative change (important) whereas existential / psychodynamic approaches seem to question fundamentals and focus on qualitative / categorical / paradigm change (change of perspective) which works pretty well for me and normally brings some good insights.

Maybe it's time for me to read some Jung. Always wanted to but I recall these books tended to be ca. 1000 pages long. I might stick a couple of Jung's books in between maths and stats handbooks.

Yeah enforcement cost, good to bring this into the picture again, helps as well.

Hristo Botev
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Re: how to stay calm and carry on

Post by Hristo Botev »

guitarplayer wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 4:47 am
Some of this is justified. But sometimes I ask myself 'really? you will be off because you have a heartburn?' And I get this sense of injustice about those who carry on working and those who just freeload taking advantage of the system.

So I am looking for ways of staying calm and carrying on.
Well, I for one am totally with you on the freeloading thing. That said, I also know it's pointless to focus on what's not in your control. So I'll second @ertyu's serenity prayer, with the caveat that it's kind of meaningless if you extract out the fact that it is a petitionary prayer to your Creator and not just some sort of self-help aphorism. Personally, I have a soft spot for click-baity, bloggy lists, and if you do too, here's one I turn to sometimes when I'm in need of some encouragement to keep my head down and keep grinding, focusing on what's within my control and doing my job with dignity. https://mtntactical.com/knowledge/what- ... 0craftsman. I've also got a soft spot for traditional Catholic prayers, and as my personal model for the "quiet professional" and "happy grinder," I often start my workday with a petitionary prayer to St. Joseph: https://www.catholic.org/prayers/prayer.php?p=780

ETA: I mean, this is good stuff, from the "Quiet Professional" click-baity thing:
6) Be humble. You are not owed anything. You’re not special. Life is not fair. The universe is immense and time infinite and you are simply, insignificant. So let … it … go. Roll up your sleeves, brighten your smile, do your job, be responsible and live your life.

Frita
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Re: how to stay calm and carry on

Post by Frita »

And one more thing I would ponder if, when, and under what circumstances you started to have such a strong reaction to “freeloading.” Often these thoughts, feelings, and emotions are rooted in childhood. Because those early experiences were processed with the tools one had at the time (and later with better but still limited tools), they can continue to resurface. Looking back with more maturity, one can reprocess and soften (even eliminate) the pronounced reaction. Note that there may be layered experiences in that one goes away and another shows up. This is part of getting to the root cause and eliminating it. Once that happens, one’s life suddenly appears sunnier in surprising ways.

Alphaville
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Re: how to stay calm and carry on

Post by Alphaville »

guitarplayer wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 5:38 am

In the first version of the OP I used an example of heartburn being the reason for being off for 4 days, perhaps I will change it to that now so that it does not detract attention from what I want to focus on here.
i used to know a guy who basically got killed by acid reflux, btw. not directly, but it leads to complications like esophageal cancer.

also, sometimes people who avoid doctors self-diagnose with "heartburn" when they're actually having a heart attack.

do you ever take any paid sick days or no?

guitarplayer
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Re: how to stay calm and carry on

Post by guitarplayer »

Thanks everyone.

@Hristo Botev, thanks for the links. The first one is not really my fairy tale but the prayer works for me! I'm not religious but have religious upbringing which might be why it resonates? Anyway, might read it every now again.

@Frita, yeah this sounds like a big project.

@Alphaville, this links to what ertyu wrote earlier on about not knowing the entirety of another person's circumstances.

Bringing the controversial figure of Sigmunt Freud, I might just settle on agreeing with him that to be mentally healthy is to be able to love and work. If someone is not able to work, something needs to be addressed, and that's okay.

I might read some stoics as well.

OTCW
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Re: how to stay calm and carry on

Post by OTCW »

I've worked the whole pandemic time. Probably only about 4 weeks from home. The rest at work. Is what it is. If I want something else, I can change to something else. If not, I can keep on doing this. No use worrying about what other people have going on.

Alphaville
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Re: how to stay calm and carry on

Post by Alphaville »

guitarplayer wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 12:07 pm
I might read some stoics as well.
philosophy aside, i do have a practical labor question though--what do you do with your unused sick days? (i'm assuming an american style regime here, but i notice you're in scotland... so not sure if you get paid sick days, how many, can you get paid for them, can you bank them over the years, etc).

guitarplayer
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Re: how to stay calm and carry on

Post by guitarplayer »

@OTCW sounds about right.

@Alphaville where I work:

- being off sick within the first 6 months of work - unpaid (well, statutory sick pay (SSP) which is a form of gov benefits and is a pro-rated ca. $500-600/month)
- being off sick with 6-12 months tenure - 4 weeks at full pay, later SSP
- being off sick with 1-3 years tenure - 8 weeks at full pay, later SSP
- being off sick with over 3 years tenure - 12 weeks at full pay followed by 12 weeks at half pay, later SSP

If you don't go off sick, nothing happens, you don't keep any sick pay entitlement or anything.

Being off sick for up to 7 days, your word about being unwell suffices, no doctor or anything needed.

Relating to your earlier question, I am fortunate to not have any issues so am off ill maybe a day or two a year.

But hey, different people, different circumstances.

Out of curiosity, how is it in the US?
Last edited by guitarplayer on Tue Feb 23, 2021 1:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Alphaville
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Re: how to stay calm and carry on

Post by Alphaville »

wow, nice!

in the usa it's 50 states and so it depends where you work,

some places have mandatory paid sick days, some don't, some accrue, some are cashed out when leaving, like vacation, some you can pool in a sick day bank (eg you can take 90 days off instead of 30, which the bank committee approves) etc.

we're a very anti-labor country :lol:

seriously, people get easily accustomed to having no rights. e.g. walmart workers need to be half-dead to get a sick day. so they usually work while contagious.

from here your regime looks very generous. sounds to me like the 7 days of no doctor are more "personal leave" or whatever.

do you get sick days to go to the dentist, etc?

guitarplayer
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Re: how to stay calm and carry on

Post by guitarplayer »

Alphaville wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 1:50 pm
do you get sick days to go to the dentist, etc?
Nope, you would take a holiday for it or work overtime another time.

Thanks for a view of how it looks like in the US.

And thanks everyone for this dialogue, I find it helpful.

Alphaville
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Re: how to stay calm and carry on

Post by Alphaville »

imo, if they offer it to you, you should take it :lol:

i don't mean cheat, but long-term employment is a grueling marathon, and sometime one needs respite, even if the work is rewarding.

plus a little rest today might increase effectiveness (and calm!) next week.

anyway, best wishes with this. 🖖

guitarplayer
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Re: how to stay calm and carry on

Post by guitarplayer »

@Alphaville, that's one way of looking at it! I never thought of these short spells of as a 'personal leave'.

I had a chat with DW about what @Frita was hinting at. None of us comes from a wealthy country with good social safety net, so obviously we could not have been socialised into living in one. Inevitably the message was more about either working or, well, looking for another job. Here it's different. So this might perhaps be what resurfaces.

Maybe I should read Rawls again.

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